Illinois’ QB-turned-WR Isaiah Williams out to prove himself at NFL Combine


INDIANAPOLIS — Isaiah Williams could’ve transferred the moment Illinois coach Bret Bielema mentioned switching from quarterback to wide receiver going into the 2021 season. That’s what a lot of players would do.

Williams admitted it was “very difficult,” but called it one of the best moves he ever made. He was All-Big Ten as a junior last season with 82 catches for 1,055 yards and five touchdowns and hoped to use the NFL scouting combine to propel his stock out of the late rounds.

“If it’s something I can fix and something I can be better at, I’m not about to leave that situation, because I’m gonna have that same problem somewhere else,” he said of staying at Illinois as a wide receiver. “I’m gonna fight where I’m at and keep getting better where I’m at… There was never a [thought] about leaving.

“I probably would never be up here talking to y’all if I was still at quarterback. I probably could’ve broken a lot of records at quarterback, but for my future, receiver was the best move.”

There was some question about why Williams, who is 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, would leave college early when he wasn’t projected to be a high draft pick. While he was tempted to return for his senior season and would’ve had NIL money if he had, his ambition led him to declare for the draft.

“The biggest thing for me was, ‘Am I ready to make that jump?’” he said. “I’m ready to compete against the best… Go chase your dream.

“I’m gonna bet on myself. I know a lot of guys have me as a wait-around guy and I’m not the top guy, but I’m cool with that. I’ve got no problem showing people that I can ball.”


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